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KANNADA CHAIR discussions since 2001 in USA by EKAVI Kumaraswamy with Dr. Harold Schiffman of UPENN

Posted by egovindia on August 19, 2009

KANNADA CHAIR discussions since 2001 in USA by EKAVI Kumaraswamy with Dr. Harold Schiffman of UPENN

KANNADA CHAIR discussions since 2001 in USA by  EKAVI  Kumaraswamy with Dr. Harold Schiffman of UPENN
____________________________________________________
 
Subj:    Kannada Chair   
Date:    5/4/01 8:23:53 AM Pacific Daylight Time   
From:    haroldfs@ccat.sas.upenn.edu (Harold F. Schiffman)
To:    NovaMed@aol.com
   
Dear Mr. Kumaraswamy,
This is a start on getting some information to you about the place of
Kannada at the University of Pennsylvania, now and in the future.

The South Asia Regional Studies department is the oldest department in the
US devoted to the study of South Asia.  A year or two ago we celebrated
our 50th anniversary, and the department obviously has played a strong
role in the development of South Asian studies in this country. Many of
its graduates have gone on to teach in other programs that have come up
since the founding of this one.  (I will supply you with supplementary
information about the history of the program and department.) The program
has also been the beneficiary of a U.S. Department of Education Title 6
grant for a “Center for South Asian STudies” and there is more information
about this at the website:
http://www.southasia.upenn.edu/html/center.html

My own history of involvement with Kannada is as follows.  I studied Tamil
and Kannada at the University of Chicago with Prof. A. K. Ramanujan, who
was the supervisor of my M.A. (1966) and Ph.D. committees (1969) in
Linguistics. After I went to India in 1965, I also studied Kannada there
at Annamalai University, and completed my M.A. thesis on Kannada
(“Morphophonemics of the Kannada Verb”) which was also published in the
journal Glossa in 1968 as an article.

In the summer of 1970 I taught Kannada at the University of Washington,
and in summer 1972 also at the University of Texas, under a program of
summer institutes then sponsored by a consortium of western universities.
(This consortium has since lapsed, so Kannada is not taught anywhere in
the western states, except for the times I taught it.)  While at the
University of Washington, I received a grant from the Office of Education,
Institute of International Studies, for a “Reference Grammar of Spoken
Kannada,” which I produced in 1979; this was subsequently published by the
University of Washington Press in 1983.  In 1991, I also published a short
entry entitled ” Kannada” in the Oxford International Encyclopedia of
Linguistics, Vol.  II, pp. 266-268. Oxford: the Clarendon Press, edited by
Wm. Bright.  

After I came to the University of Pennsylvania in 1995, we made some
efforts to try to get Kannada taught and this began in a small way in
1997, with courses mostly for “heritage” learners (children of
Indo-Americans at Penn) but with some non-heritage learners as well who
are doing research in India on Karnataka etc.  This has continued to the
present, taught by a local Kannadiga lady who does this part-time, mostly
as a “labor of love.”  Our mutual friend Ananthamurthi has also visited
here and will probably come again to grace us with his presence.

I would like very much to visit any of the Kannada Koota’s that are having
meetings either in this area, or in California when I am there. (I will
be visiting my mother in San Diego from July 21 to 25, and after that am
free to meet with people either in southern or northern California.) I
could also go to Triveni in Baltimore, and since I live in New Jersey,
could easily attend a meeting of the NJ Koota, too.

I very much liked hearing about the idea of an exchange with the
University of Hampi, since that might make it possible for young scholars
from there to come here and vice versa.  Perhaps someone could come from
there to teach elementary courses etc.  (details to be worked out).
I would like to see many research projects that such a collaboration could
entail–work on electronic dictionaries, Kannada software for research,
perhaps a modern grammar of literary Kannada (to replace Spencer’s out of
print work), and all kinds of other things. 

I am assembling some printed materials to send you about the history of
our program, and will also send this email as a printed letter. 

With best wishes,
Harold Schiffman
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——————————————————————————
Harold F. Schiffman
Professor of Dravidian Linguistics and Culture Acting Director
Dept. of South Asia Regional Studies      Penn Language Center
820 Williams Hall, Box 6305                715-16, Williams Hall Box  6305
                  
           University of Pennsylvania
           Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305
Phone:  (215) 898-5825                                        (215) 898-6039
Fax:  (215) 573-2138                          Fax (215) 573-2139
Email: haroldfs@ccat.sas.upenn                  plc@ccat.sas.upenn.edu
WWW: http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~haroldfs/ http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~plc/
_______________________________________________________________
Subj:    Kannada Chair at U. of Pennsylvania   
Date:    8/21/01 8:24:21 AM Pacific Daylight Time   
From:    haroldfs@ccat.sas.upenn.edu (Harold F. Schiffman)
To:    cm@kar.nic.in
CC:    smkrishna@bangaloreit.com, cmk@bangaloreit.com, NovaMed@aol.com (V. M. Kumaraswamy)
  
The Honorable Chief Minister
Hon. Sri S. M. Krishna,

Respected Sir,
I am writing to you at the suggestion of Mr. V.M. Kumaraswamy, of the
Association of Kannada Kuuta’s of America, which has been recently
proposing the establishment of a Chair for Kannada Studies at an American
University.  We at the University of Pennsylvania have welcomed this
endeavor, as we have an interest in Kannada that dates back a long time,
and have other resources that would help nurture this position were it to
be established.  The University of Pennsylvania has the oldest department
of South Asian Studies in the US and teaches a number of modern and
classical South Asian Languages, either in the department itself or in
collaboration with the Penn Language Center. I recently completed a term
as Director of the Penn Language Center and have worked on Kannada and
Tamil languages over a 35-year career in academia.

I think there are a number of reasons why establishment of a Kannada chair
would redound to the benefit of Kannadigas everywhere.  One is that, as
you know, the International Literacy Institute here at Penn has recently
concluded an agreement with your government to work on literacy in
Karnataka State.  Presumably this will take the form of literacy in
Kannada, since that is the greatest need for the people.  We in the Penn
Language Center (PLC) and South Asian Studies (SARS) have the expertise in
the language that will be an integral part of such a program;
additionally, we have the expertise both in pedagogy (how best to teach
South Asian languages to Americans) and web-based resources for
language teaching.  Our Language Resource and Research Center (LaRRC) is
specifically devoted to providing these kinds of assistance.  We have
recently started a Kannada page which can be viewed at
http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/plc/kannada which will be modeled on our more
extensive web pages for other S. Asian languages such as Tamil
(http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/plc/tamilweb/tamil.html), Hindi, and others.
As you know Bangalore is the center for IT initiatives in India, and as
more and more foreigners come to Bangalore, being able to learn some
Kannada for getting around in local places would be an advantage. One of
the things we have learned about teaching Indian languages to foreigners
is that spoken language must be taught in addition to, but separately
from, the literary languages, such as formal literary Kannada. The page I
mentioned above concentrates on such spoken material; the next step in
offerings there will be a grammar of Spoken Kannada which is now being
converted to html and will be a resource where students can look up
questions they have about the grammar. 
Eventually we would propose, as part of the Kannada Chair, to develop more
extensive materials, such as a collection of readings in modern Kannada
(selections from the best writers) which we would provide with vocabulary,
grammatical explanations, cultural notes, and other resources.  As an
example of this you could see our Tamil page:
http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/plc/tamilweb/yukam/yukamcol.html
Beyond this, we would also ideally have on line a grammar of literary
Kannada (in English) but there is now no recent book in print for this;
even the missionary grammar by Spencer is not available.  Hopefully an
updated grammar of Literary Kannada could also be provided, were funds
available. 

As part of the AKKA initiative we have been discussing how to collaborate
with other India-based resource networks so that materials and other
things available in India could be put on line.  Recently we began
discussions with the Director of the CIIL in Mysore, Dr. Udaya Narayan
Singh, on how to tap into the CIIL’s resources that will be put on line
there.  Dr. Singh will be coming to America in October and we hope to
finalize some agreements with him at that time. 

There are many more things I could say about this, but suffice it to say
that we are very excited to be part of this project.  I first began
studying Kannada in the summer of 1964 and continued studying the language
when I was in India in 1965-66, then taught it in Peace Corps and in other
venues (U. of Washington, U. of Texas).  Now it would be the culmination
of a dream if we could establish a program here that Kannadigas of America
could be proud of, which would make the Kannada language known far beyond
its roots in Karnataka. 

With best wishes,
Sincerely,
Harold F. Schiffman
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——————————————————————————
Harold F. Schiffman
Professor of Dravidian Linguistics and Culture Research Director
Dept. of South Asia Regional Studies      Penn Language Center
820 Williams Hall, Box 6305                715-16, Williams Hall Box  6305
                 
          University of Pennsylvania
          Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305
Phone:  (215) 898-5825                                        (215) 898-6039
Fax:  (215) 573-2138                          Fax (215) 573-2139
Email: haroldfs@ccat.sas.upenn                  plc@ccat.sas.upenn.edu
WWW: http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~haroldfs/ http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~plc/
——————————————————————————

Major Objectives in establishing Endowment for Kannada Chair are:

To ensure that the study of Kannada is permanently offered in the United States.
To provide more prestige for the Kannada language and its culture.
To promote and advance the use of State-of-the-art Technology in the study of Kannada.

WHY
By establishing a Kannada Chair in one of the prestigious universities in the USA will  help in protecting, maintaining, preserving and promoting the interests, heritage, language, culture and history of  Kannadigas.

The three main things which were raised during the meeting with Dr. Harold Schiffman of UPENN were answered by Dr. Harold Schiffman in detail. These are the following:

(1). Why teach Kannada in this country at all? Isn’t the language dying?
There is much we need to know about Kannada culture and language that
cannot be learned except through Kannada.  The language has 1200 years of
written history and we do not know all there is to know; there is much
archeological work (digs) to be done, inscriptions to be deciphered, and
knowledge to be constructed about the religion, the history, the art, the
architecture, the music, that needs to be known and appreciated in the
west, as well as in India.  We can only know this if we have a formal
place to study this alongside other worthy and classical languages now
taught in American universities.  Knowing Sanskrit or Tamil or Hindi will
not get us all the knowledge we need to know in this area.
______________________________________________________________________
 

(2). Why we should teach spoken language in addition to written language:
For mother-tongue speakers raised in INdia, the spoken language is learned
at the mother’s knee, and supported in general by society.  When schooling
begins, the written language is introduced.  People eventually come to
think of the written language as the *real* language and the spoken
language as corrupt.
Children learning in America, whether of Kannada descent or general
American descent, usually have English already in their heads, and spoken
Kannada (SK) and written Kannada (WK) are like 2 different languages. They
can’t keep them straight, and can’t see why e.g. [maaDuvudakke] and
[maaDokke] are equivalent, or which one to use where.  We must teach SK so
they can communicate with real people, in villages, in temples, when
travelling, but we must also teach WK so they can read and do research.
For non-mother-tongue speakers, they must be kept separate.  I used to
teach them on different days, or even have different teachers do the two.
I wrote the Kannada spoken grammar because students constantly asked
questions about how to use the SK.  For WK we have better support
(grammars, dictionaries, etc.)
______________________________________________________________________

(3). What pedagogically is different about the way languages are taught in
the west and in India?

What we know about language teaching here in the west is how to teach
*communicatively* so that the language can be used to ask questions, ask
for directions, get something to eat and a place to sleep, i.e. various
*functions* of communication.  In India language is often by rote, i.e.
memorize these alphabets first, then learn to read.  We would teach the
letters that can be found in Ca syllables first, e.g. kala, maga, raja,
mara, and not the more complicated letters. We would also not teach the
ones with no use in the language (nga, ngi, ngu) until the very end.
Another example is that I teach the auxiliary verbs “beeku, saaku, gottu”
etc. which have the syntax “nanage X gottu; nimage Y beeku” instead of
action verbs like maaDu, hoogu, baa, because the latter are more complex.
Also, if they get beeku, saaku and gottu first, they won’t then say things
like “naanu adu gottiini” (on the model of “I know that”) because the
correct form will be already in their heads.  The simple introductory
lessons I have that I am working on right now (my son is editing the
frames) that I will put on the web soon, have these forms earlier than
action verbs for this reason.)
______________________________________________________________________
 
This is an answer provided by Dr. Harold Schiffman to Sri. Poornachandra Tejasvi for one of his questions.
Kannada Fonts and the Lack of Compatibility between different Word Processors…   
 

Dear Mr. Tejasvi,
I was forwarded the message you sent to Mr. Kumaraswamy about Kannada
fonts and the lack of compatibility between different word processors etc.
I agree that this is a problem; it is similar to the situation in a number
of languages with which I am familiar, such as Tamil and Chinese.  The
Chinese have, at least as far as the web is concerned, developed a
software that recognizes which webfont is being used, then loads it
automatically so that users don’t have to do this themselves.

I would hope that someone in the Kannada IT community would take on the
task of developing a converter that would do this for the various Kannada
fonts, too. It would be nice if this could be done as a service to the
Kannada IT community, but otherwise it would have to be done as some cost
to someone.

I don’t know if you are involved in the development of Unicode for
Kannada, but I know some of the problems that the Tamil Unicode community
encountered–mostly the issue of some people feeling that their font was
superior to someone else’s, or that their keyboard layout was
“copyrighted” and even fights about whether certain characters should be
included in the Unicode, because they were “foreign” and would corrupt the
Tamil language.

I hope the Kannada IT community can take this on and do something to solve
these problems.
H. Schiffman
______________________________________________________________________
Subj: Chair for Kannada Studies in the US
Date:    7/10/02 7:05:31 AM Pacific Daylight Time   
  
From:    haroldfs@ccat.sas.upenn.edu (Harold F. Schiffman)
To:    NovaMed@aol.com (V. M. Kumaraswamy)

Dear Kannadigas and friends of the Kannada language:

My response regarding a Chair for
Kannada Studies in the US is known to some, but I would like to reiterate
it at this time.  The University of Pennsylvania now teaches Kannada on a
regular basis, and intends to do so for the foreseeable future. It is the
only institution in the US committed to do so, and the Kannada language
program is located in the Department of South Asia Regional Studies, the
oldest department of its kind in the US.

This Department would be happy to host an endowed Chair for Kannada
Studies if the Kannadiga community in the US would raise the endowment.
Now more than ever, we are able to help this project along, for a number
of reasons.  After a period of reorganization and reassessment, the SARS
Department has recently been refocussed to become more of a language and
literature department at Penn, and new positions for various languages
have been created.  New faculty have been hired and will be joining SARS
in the fall semester.  Furthermore, the US Department of Education,
responding to the crisis of September 11, and realizing that we lack
expertise in the languages of South Asia, Central Asia, and the Near East,
has requested proposals for new “Language Resource Centers” “LRC” for these
areas.  A Consortium of South Asian language centers in the US has
responded, and proposed a LRC for South Asia.  If the funding for this is
granted (and we see no reason why it should not be) the U. of Pennsylvania
will host the ‘pedagogical materials’ development program for this LRC.
We expect to be convening the teachers of various South Asian language
groups at Penn during the coming academic year to assess the needs for
language learning materials, and to commission new ones to fill the gaps
over the next four years of the grant.  Kannada will be one of those
languages that will be included; all our new materials will be web-based,
and therefore available on-line for anyone to use, whether at a university
in the US, in ones own home, or anywhere in the world.

We will also be initiating a program to help teachers in “heritage”
language programs to become better teachers, and Kannada teachers in
“community” language programs around the country will be invited to
participate in workshops set up for them.  I will be the director of the
pedagogical materials program here at Penn, and will be in touch with
Kannada language teachers to let them know of these opportunities, and
help them to use the new web-based materials.

Just for information, I have not devoted my energies to Kannada language
projects much in the last few years, but I have taught Kannada (at U. of
Texas and U. of Washington) in the past, and wrote a grammar of Kannada
and other materials for learning Kannada.  The grammar is now out of print
but we have digitized it and placed it on our website at
http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/plc/kannada/ We hope to get this book reprinted
in India if possible.

I have hopes of attending the next AKKA meetings in Detroit at the end of
summer, and will be glad to talk to Kannadigas about the possibility of
hosting an endowed Kannada Chair at the University of Pennsylvania.

Harold Schiffman
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——————————————————————————
Harold F. Schiffman
Professor of Dravidian Linguistics and Culture Research Director
Dept. of South Asia Regional Studies      Penn Language Center
820 Williams Hall, Box 6305                715-16, Williams Hall Box 6305
          University of Pennsylvania
          Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305
Phone:  (215) 898-5825 (215) 898-6039
Fax:  (215) 573-2138 Fax (215) 573-2139
Email: haroldfs@ccat.sas.upenn                  plc@ccat.sas.upenn.edu
WWW: http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~haroldfs/ http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~plc/
——————————————————————————

Sincerely
V. M. Kumaraswamy
President  AKKA
14102  Moore Ct.
Irvine , CA 92606
Home: 949-857-8578 and  949-857-8044
Fax:  949-653-1911
Email:  novamed@aol.com

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